The Claim of the Rose: Not For Honor
It is up to the Marquis and the Marquessa of the Roseward to bring these men and women to their knees - by the sword or by the pen.
Jan. 2, 2020, 8 p.m.
Outside Arx - Lyceum near The Roseward - Tor - The Roseward - Outside the Roseward
Comments and Log
Vicente wields Thorn's Honor a rubicund broadsword.
Alessia wields Requiem - an ancient glaive with an iridescite handle.
Ian wields Heavy Cane.
The weather in the outskirts of the newly-founded March of the Roseward is rainy. Sweeping winds and sheets of raindrops make for poor visibility and muddy terrain, conditions that would intimidate most people from fighting.
Unfortunately, urgent matters are at hand. House Longfeather has sent a missive to the Roseward detailing a raid by former Volkov soldiers that have gathered under a banner and started calling themselves 'the Remnants of Volkov' that has resulted in the capture, presumably and hopefully live, of the heirs to House Eco, a county formerly sworn to the Volkovs who has remained on the wall for a time. Mostly comprised of elite riders of the erstwhile Prodigal march, they have a number of villages and towns under their control, and they are led by a mysterious Captain, Vladislav.
Overnight, Vitalis Mazetti has successfully staged an operation to rescue those hostages, and they seem to be en route to safety, though hotly pursued by a number of patrols. But there's still the infuriated former riders of Volkov to contend with -- the Roseward army meets them just as they stage a raid on a village that is far closer to the Marquisate's seat...
Civilized people would pick a better day for battling one another, not choosing to battle the elements as well. Yet here they are, gathered to head off these raiders before they can run down anyone else, or do any more specific damage. The Roseward army has grown a bit since the last time it was brought into the field for Longfeather, though elements of it are still green. And sodden. Lora is not exactly at the head of this column, but near enough to it get an idea of what the worst possible case scenario is. "I am going to have to have a discussion with Lord Mazetti about his definition of successful."
Ian has is collar turned up and hood drawn against the wind and rain, and even has goggles to protect his eyes if it drives too hard -- he wouldn't be much of an islesman if he let the weather bother him -- but he seems a little less than sure of his footing in the muddy terrain. Nevertheless, his expression is flat, his electric blue eyes serene, unsettling in their focus as he scans the area, picking out details of the landscape in which the army intends to make its stand. As an odd contrast to his dark armor and grim demeanor is the scarf that he wears looped at his hip like a whip or a length of rope. It's, uh, colorful. And the moisture of the rain getting into the wool is, if anything, making its pungent scent even worse. His only visible weapon currently is the diver's knife at his hip, but it's no secret that there's an alarcite sword in that cane.
Alessia's expression is mostly unreadable as she scans the plains, her eyes narrowing as she struggles with the poor visibility. She has her glaive gripped tightly in gloved hands, and her focus shifts to the marquessa when she speaks. She remains silent though her brows furrow, naturally concerned.
Thea is dressed in her leathers, looking very much Malvici. Her blade on one side of her hip, physician satchel on the other. She looks about, looking cautious but remains silent.
The sound of the village's shrine's bell ringing is all the advance warning they have of the cloud of riders trodding down. Their lamellar armor and distinctive angular helmet make the Remnants of Volkov rather obvious presences on the battlefield -- if the rubicund swords and lances they carry to the fighting don't give them away.
Behind the thundering of horses, the march of auxiliary infantry and archers is nearly a whisper by comparison. But torches are lit, a hulking beast of a man clad head to toe in diamondplate that was likely stolen or wrested from inferior adversaries leading the horsemen as fires rise in the countryside, despite the rain snuffing them shortly afterward, perhaps even more ruinously so.
This is no ordinary raid: these tactics are known to Lora, perhaps. The nightmarish landscape of the Battle of Aquila fresh in hers and Vicente's mind.
Vicente checked wits + war at difficulty 45, rolling 26 higher.
Vicente turns to Lora, as she is the head and says, "I should place the pike in front, place the bowman behind. Place the horse on right flank, infantry I want slanting towards the back. If those horseman move away from the pike, they'll have a sword at their side. Don't be afraid to run the horse through. Your brothers and sisters are worth more than a horse. I want the horse behind the archers ready to sweep to either side depending on where the horse go. Archers are to fire in volleys, half a step once in range and then continuing volleys as quickly as possible. If their horsemen retreat, make them a pincushion. If we see the count's family, a quarter to a fifth go to escort? Thoughts?"
"Why must they burn everything?" It is a rhetorical question, but a bitter one. It is the only real question Lora has in her to ask before Vicente has put forward this strategy and it pulls her attention from the grim force bearing down on the village ahead. The rain has scrubbed her pale, the whole sequence of events wan, but after a few moments she nods, albeit slowly. "As fair a plan as any. Gloria help us all. As Lord Corvini isn't here, I will stay with the archers."
Amund GM Roll checked command(5) + war(5) at difficulty 30, rolling 44 higher.
"Is that diamondplate?" Alessia squints as she studies a man leading the horsemen. "Gods... they really did a number on the village." She murmurs, though shakes her head, as though shaking any doubts to her resolve.
Ian may not have a lot of experience with land-based warfare, but even he can see at a glance that the horse on his side are outclassed by the elite cavalry riding towards them, so he's already in among the men he's been tasked with commanding, making sure they know him, that they know he isn't worried -- making sure that when it comes time for them to hold firm against charging horsemen, which he fully expects won't be chased away, they'll hold. He DOES have a lot of experience with shield walls and the phalanx, at least.
Vicente checked command + war at difficulty 30, rolling 15 higher.
Vicente calls out, "Anyone hold a torch dies! I don't care how!" His final order.
Ian checked command + leadership at difficulty 50, rolling 38 higher.
Amund GM Roll checked command(5) + war(5) at difficulty 50, rolling 16 higher.
Alessia checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 50, rolling 17 higher.
Lora checked command + leadership at difficulty 45, rolling 10 lower.
Amund GM Roll checked command(3) + leadership(2) at difficulty 45, rolling 9 lower.
When she's given the go-ahead, Alessia grips the iridescent handle firmly and charges forth, evading attacks as they come while using the sharp blade to cleave through the opponents she comes across. She moves deftly, her unshaken resolve appearing to power her actions, and her strikes are powerful when they land.
As promised, Lora stays with the archers, a double line of bowmen that ready a volley to join the rain over the heads of the army bearing down on yonder village. They do, and it is a fine rattle of arrows, but perhaps the distance is too great, or they've been spotted, and it is rather less effective than past iterations of this have been. The marquessa watches with some dismay, but buries it, calling, "Advance and ready the next round."
As the charge breaks against his forces, Ian, summoning some impressive lung capacity and general volume, shouts out encouragement while he moves through the line, filling holes, preparing them for the next wave while his forces advance slowly, prioritizing discipline over speed, towards the opposing foot. He makes damned sure everyone sees the blood on Alessia's glaive and the splarked bits of some guy's head on the ground. "You're fighting with a blasted glaivedancer!" He shouts.
Vicente checked command + leadership at difficulty 45, rolling 21 higher.
Thea checked command + leadership at difficulty 45, rolling 8 higher.
Amund GM Roll checked command(3) + leadership(2) at difficulty 45, rolling 20 lower.
The riders close the distance all too quickly, the imposing caparisoned mounts they wear rendering them an even more frightening image to those few villagers that have decided to fight alongside the di Fidante army. Unfortunately for the riders, however, reputation alone does not win battles; pikes go up with Ian's orders as Vicente lays out the strategy of the day; where the pikes can't easily defend, infantry slips between the cracks to raise shields and take the brunt of the blow, only to retreat behind the safety of the thicket of pike shafts, horses are wounded, and two Volkov Remnant riders fall, slaughtered by the rain of pikeheads piercing their armor.
Lora's archers aim and fire, but the riders that are now riding back to avoid the danger of attrition raise their shields, as does the rapidly approaching but disorganized infantry. Arrows dot the ground and glance off of shields as they get closer.
Alessia Mazetti shows the deadly reputation of the glaivedancers as she elegantly dispatches a lieutenant among the cavalrymen of the other side, throwing a detachment into disarray for a moment. Five more fall victim to her glaive as the ground slicks with the blood of horses and their riders. Thea Malvici expertly commands the riders under her command into a daring flanking attack at the auxiliary infantrymen, cutting a swath through their ranks by the time they're returning to formation.
One more order is given to charge, except this time, the enemy intends to envelop the di Fidante contingent while their archers take aim for return fire...
Amund GM Roll checked command(5) + war(5) at difficulty 45, rolling 7 lower.
Ian checked command + leadership at difficulty 40, rolling 25 higher.
Amund GM Roll checked command(4) + leadership(5) at difficulty 45, rolling 11 lower.
Vicente checked command + war at difficulty 40, rolling 29 higher.
Ian checked command + leadership at difficulty 40, rolling 19 higher.
Lora checked command + leadership at difficulty 40, rolling 31 lower.
Lora checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 45, rolling 20 lower.
Thea checked command + leadership at difficulty 40, rolling 4 higher.
Amund GM Roll checked command(3) + leadership(2) at difficulty 45, rolling 23 lower.
Alessia checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 4 higher.
Vicente checked command + leadership at difficulty 50, rolling 3 higher.
Amund GM Roll checked command(5) + leadership(5) at difficulty 50, rolling 7 higher.
Ian barks an efficient string of commands, and the people under his command work like a well oiled machine. Shields come up to block incoming fire. The formation wheels, and pikes haul riders off their horses. Even the villagers are gaining confidence at this point (partially because Ian was smart enough to put them in places where more experienced units were there to back them up/stop them from running). "Look at the sorry bastards scatter!" He makes sure his people get a good look at the carnage caused by Thea's charges. "Bunch of fucking toy soldiers."
Vicente runs to the archers and begins to scream in the midst, "If so much as one man or woman of you leaves this field, you may survive but you best think about your children because I intend to live and crush this enemy and any deserters will be marked and be certain, they are marked. Pull those bows and slaughter these no good oathbreakers! Shavs of a bent that can use one of those arrows behind their eye! Every citizen of that down and every dead soldier on this field will be a silver in your pocket and an army that gets a drink of vodka with yours truly, or if that's not terrifying enough, the marquessa!"
The weakening of the cavalry seems to allow the glaivedancer to hit her targets with more ease, taking down more combatants as she goes along. There is a certain ferocity to her strikes, and the mud splatter does remove any semblance of elegance to her dance. Even so, the rain doesn't appear to impede her, and she remains vigilant as to the whereabouts of the next coming attacker to evade their bblows.
"ALESSIA!" Ian shouts Alessia's name and points to the rider in diamondplate. "Fancy a new suit of diamondplate armor?" This is probably a suggestion that she target their leader if she's given a chance. If she looks like she's game, he's going to try and get her that chance.
This raid has gone backwards, and it is thanks to the quick-thinking of the defending commanders. The decision to combine infantry and pikes has resulted in more casualties than anticipated, and Alessia cripples two horses before killing two riders, which prompts a detachment into taking a wide berth around her, rather than specifically targeting the Mazetti.
Meanwhile, Ian's troops push back against the cavalry only to lull them into a trap where ten are killed and twenty are enveloped, still fighting on horseback. The archers on the other side rain arrows down on the diFidante contingent but aren't effective -- save for the effect they leave on the archers on the Torean side.
Shaken, the diFidante archer contingent is unable to muster itself effectively and seems about to flee the ground before Vicente's booming voice resonates and they still themselves, many sergeants repeating the orders and forcing the soldiers to remember their drills. Their bows are raised but they haven't loosed arrows yet.
However, the fearsome diamondplate-clad rider shouts orders in Lycene shav, even as his infantry is summarily cut down by another charge of Thea's -- and his cavalrymen pull together when his sword cleaves into five diFidante warriors with ease, allowing for a brief reprieve in the envelopment that his troops take full advantage of. Ten are dead, but twenty are still alive.
Vicente checked command + war at difficulty 30, rolling 16 higher.
Amund GM Roll checked command(5) + war(5) at difficulty 30, rolling 45 higher.
Ian checked perception + war at difficulty 45, rolling 16 lower.
Vicente checked perception + war at difficulty 50, rolling 23 higher.
Ian checked command + leadership at difficulty 40, rolling 22 higher.
Amund GM Roll checked command(3) + leadership(2) at difficulty 40, rolling 12 lower.
Lora checked command + leadership at difficulty 40, rolling 5 lower.
Dante checked command + leadership at difficulty 50, rolling 1 lower.
Amund GM Roll checked command(5) + leadership(5) at difficulty 50, rolling 2 higher.
As Dante rides his cavalrymen to an encounter with the abruptly departing Volkov Remnants, a swarm of enemy cavalry falls upon him, trying to wound the Marquis. 99 inflicted and Dante is harmed for serious damage.
"THE OATHBREAKING ASSHOLES ARE RUNNING!" Ian rallies the soldiers under his command. "RUN THEM DOWN!" A roar goes through the troops, keyed up by now and ready to fight -- and now they've been let off the leash. Ian looses them like starved dogs and they surge across the field of battle, howling and whooping. They quickly outpace him, as he's not capable of running, but probably not by much.
Alessia checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 33 higher.
Vicente checked command + war at difficulty 45, rolling 11 higher.
Amund GM Roll checked command(4) + leadership(5) at difficulty 50, rolling 9 higher.
Clearly Vicente's promises of drinking with the archers - or threats of having to drink with the marquessa - aren't quite so effective as some other tactics have been. Lora falls quiet to let him yell and then stares at him for a couple of moments as if baffled by this technique, then turns to face the nearer line of flustered bowmen. "They were planning to burn the village down! And now they're getting away!" She gestures toward the cavalry that has pulled back, as if this is somehow their fault. Or hers, possibly.
The battle having come down to this, Dante breaks from his lethargic state at the back of the ranks and spurs the cavalry on to catch the rear of the retreating horsemen of the enemy. Except something is a bit off - perhaps his horse stumbles or voice breaks, or just a case of bad luck. Whatever it happens to be, the enemy cavalry whirl and give him a solid thrashing before resuming their retreat, leaving the Marquis battered and reeling.
Vicente continues to yell at the archers, directing the volleys and says, "In rhythm you swine humping motherless goats!" He laughs and begins to drop his hand in an arching motion, "Feel the sway! Move with the beat." He may not be a musician by he does have the ability to make a beat for them to follow. As the volley goes he cheers out, "That's it, keep the beat!" His eyes watch to follow the volley as they fall, "You can take these pansies!"
When the cavalry begin to retreat to a column and those under Ian's command crush the axillary infantry and pike, Alessia's attention drifts to the archers, still raining fire. With quiet determination, her focus goes to the lieutenant, whom she speeds toward, faster than the archers can detect her approach. With little hesitation, she slashes the man's throat with her blade.
The end result is that the retreating mass of elite cavalrymen don't give much more battle; cutting their losses rather than insisting on their error is the hallmark of good leadership and Vladislav is nothing if not a good leader of men, if ruthless and completely immoral according to the tenets of the Faith.
Nevertheless, his raiding army has suffered a crushing defeat, with many dead or dying infantry, and archers that are soon to follow that same fate. Some even surrender, but most are killed by a surge of irate villagers barely armed with spears and wood axes. Alessia Mazetti will likely go down in the Remnants' short history as a killer of lieutenants, given that she's effectively sown chaos and destruction in their ranks, while Ian has stopped a deadly charge and overturned it with efficiency.
Thanks to Vicente's plan of combining arms, of course.
As for Dante's erstwhile enemy, a letter will arrive in the Roseward Keep shortly. One that challenges the Marquis and his right to rule, boasting of prowess of arms and skill, and a challenge -- a fight to the death, one way or another. This rebuffed raid, it seems, was taken personally.
In two days, three visitors arrive at the Roseward, also, the Ghost of Ostria, with two former hostages of the Remnants. Heirs of House Eco, who desire an audience with Lora.
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